Tanaka kun is Listless is the type of anime that would usually be a shorter episode. The main character, Tanaka is on a quest to maintain his listlessness and peaceful daily life. He wants to sleep wherever he can, and the episode follows him through his daily life.
I will admit, it is pretty adorable. Tanaka has a small charm that makes you want to silently cheer him on. He just wants to be lazy, leave him be! His best friend, Ohta, is annoyed, surprised, and impressed by the lengths Tanaka will go to remain listless. His character is kind of like an in-episode narrator, explaining things to the audience without being an official narrator or breaking the fourth wall. He doesn’t try to change Tanaka really, he asks questions and asks for explanations, but in the end he picks Tanaka up from wherever he has settled, tosses him over his shoulder and walks away.
The episode is pretty philosophical in its own way. Tanaka explains why being listless is great, and how his efforts reflect larger occurrences, or why being listless should not be considered lazy. It gets pretty deep in a ‘im on the weird side of Tumblr’ kinda way.
The listlessness affects the events of the school day in humorous ways. While playing the piano, he moves the music down an octave, making the song feel spooky. His arms fall asleep and he cannot get up, he gets tired and groans throughout the gym exercises, eventually falling asleep on the sidelines. If it wasn’t intentional I’d think he had a mild form of narcolepsy.
The animation style was pretty cute. The outline was soft but sporadic. It cuts out a bit, almost listlessly. This really is the only time a still frame held on the screen for a while would work, because Tanaka is motionless a lot of the time. The facial expressions were pretty good. The disapproving looks from Ohta came across, although it was held for most of the episode, and the sleeping, dazy, listless look in Tanakas eyes seemed to be blank, adding to his overall goal. His facial expressions when he attempts physical activity didn’t change, he always had his listless face on.
The sound effects aided to the feel. Birds were often heard when Tanaka was outside, doing what he does best. Soft, periodic flute music was present a majority of the time, creating soothing environment to go with the dilated empty pupils of our …protagonist? Although Tanaka himself said he would rather be a background character.
The humor that follows the characters is not so much funny haha, but kind of a soft snort, ‘really?’ kind of humor.
I don’t know where the series could go from here, either someone shows up and tries to motivate Tanaka or maybe it’ll be just follow a lot of people reacting to him being listless again.